Top 10 takeaways from Advertising Week Europe 2017

Google apologizes, Marks & Spencer's on being "mumsy" and the future of the agency model were among the highlights of this year's Advertising Week Europe in London.

Google sorry for ads funding extremist content

Matt Brittin, Google's EMEA president of business and operations, said the internet giant was accelerating its review of brand advertising appearing on jihadist and other extremist content. Following last month's investigation by The Times, several brands have pulled their ads from Google-owned YouTube this month.

Terror at Parliament overshadows festival

Two days after Google's apology, Westminster was struck by terror when a 52-year-old man ploughed into dozens of pedestrians – killing three people – and stabbed a policeman to death outside the Houses of Parliament. 

The following morning, DigitasLBI's Chris Clarke said terror relies on the oxygen of publicity to survive and renewed calls for Google and Facebook to take responsibility for extremist content being hosted on their platforms. 

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, was due to speak at Advertising Week yesterday but cancelled.

'Doing a Havas' became a thing

Michael Roth, the Interpublic boss, coined the term "doing a Havas" when saying his media agencies would not pull their spend from Google in light of the recent brand safety controversy. 

It came after Havas Media Group UK pulled its entire media spend from Google's display network and YouTube. The UK government and several advertisers including Channel 4, L'Oréal, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland have also stopped spending with Google-owned YouTube.

M&S is angsty about age

Marks & Spencer revealed it will pursue an evolved marketing strategy under new ad agency Grey London, which will be based on attitude as opposed to age. Brand and marketing director Rob Weston was conscious of the brand's "mumsy" image and said the answer was to communicate "attitude" which would transcend age.

Weston went on to say that age categories are "meaningless" and by example mentioned that Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles are the same age but are wildly different in attitude. 

Ad agencies 'staring down barrel' of outcome-related payments

There was a lot of discussion (dare we say "navel-gazing"?) over how the agency model would evolve and how the client-agency relationship could dictate the process. According to Karamarama's Jon Wilkins, agencies will be paid with a "stronger blend of outcome and less reliance on fee." It can sometimes pay off – such as when Wilkins' former agency Naked got a £800,000 bonus after helping 118 118 grow its market share.

Evening Standard not fazed by Osborne controversy

ESI Media commercial chief Jon O'Donnell defended the London Evening Standard's decision to appoint former chancellor George Osborne as the editor, saying the "noise" around the appointment was "great for publishing."

Production companies call for 'integrity' over commissioning

Sir Martin Sorrell was singled out by the Advertising Producers Association, which is unhappy with the way holding companies' in-house production units are competing against indies. 

UK is 'worst' place to launch agency start-up

London is short on new marketing services businesses, while the UK would be the worst place to start an advertising agency, according to SI Partners co-founder Charles Fallon.

Agencies are still only making ads to please clients

That's according to ad industry veteran Dave Trott, who warned a panel of marketers against "obsequious" ad agencies.

Uber called out over brand values

PR guru Matthew Freud said it was clear to consumers that Uber was "at odds with the values of its core customer base" because it  had never used its fleet to do something socially minded.

Freud said this compared unfavorably with brands that had built authentic, purpose-led brands, such as Jamie Oliver, Bono and David Beckham.

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